Home Depot to hire 80,000 temp workers
Home Depot’s hometown may be iced over for the moment, but that isn’t stopping the company from looking ahead to spring. The Atlanta-based home improvement giant said it is hiring more 80,000 temporary workers nationwide in anticipation of its big spring selling season, the busiest time of the year for the company. Some of the jobs will be made permanent, said spokesman Stephen Holmes. In the Twin Cities, Home Depot plans to hire 1,050 workers at its 23 stores, about the same number as last year, spokeswoman Katherine Ellison said. Spring is busiest for the company as consumers ramp up yard work, including planting in gardens, building decks and pruning trees.
Bankers group to drop Volcker rule lawsuit
The American Bankers Association said it was dropping its lawsuit to block parts of the Volcker rule from going into effect after regulators modified what the group found most objectionable. The association’s move was not unexpected. In January, the five regulatory agencies responsible for carrying out the Volcker rule relented to industry pressure and changed provisions that would have forced community banks to take write-downs on a type of security that many had invested in before the financial crisis. The banking industry argued that the original provisions violated the intent of the Volcker rule, which was meant to curb risk-taking by big Wall Street banks, and would instead inflict financial pain on smaller ones.
BlackBerry market share ranks below ‘other’
Continuing a well-established pattern, BlackBerry posted a sharp market share loss in the latest global estimates released by market research company IDC. Even though smartphone shipments rose 39 percent in 2013 compared with the year before, exceeding 1 billion units for the first time, BlackBerry shipments fell 41 percent. BlackBerry’s tumble meant it ended last year with just 0.6 percent of the market, even less than the 0.7 percent attributed to operating systems so inconsequential that IDC lumps them in a collective category. While hardly triumphant, Windows Phone managed to claim 3 percent of the global market. Apple’s iOS (17.6 percent) and Google’s Android (78.1 percent) continued to dominate.
Deere raises its full-year earnings forecast
Deere & Co. forecast fiscal 2014 profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates as it sees an increase in sales from its construction and forestry equipment segment. Net income for the year through October will be about $3.3 billion, the same as a November projection, Moline, Ill.-based Deere said. That’s above the $3.13 billion average of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. It maintained a forecast for equipment sales falling 3 percent in the period. Deere also posted fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat estimates. Net income was $1.81 a share in the three months through Jan. 31, compared with $1.65 a year earlier.
Union vote underway at VW Tennessee plant
Workers at Volkswagen’s lone U.S. plant in Tennessee kicked off a three-day election that will determine whether they will be represented by the United Auto Workers union. If the union succeeds, the Chattanooga plant would become the first among foreign automakers in the South to unionize. A loss for the UAW would deal a severe setback for the union that has staked its future on organizing workers at plants outside of Detroit’s Big Three. The Chattanooga plant is alone among Volkswagen’s major factories around the world without formal worker representation.
Bank of England holds rates, loosens guidance
The Bank of England abandoned its six-month-old strategy of pledging to consider raising interest rates only when unemployment falls to 7 percent, saying it would now take a range of factors into account. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, also stressed that higher interest rates were still some way off and that any increase would be gradual. The central bank also raised growth forecasts for 2014 again, predicting 3.4 percent economic growth rather than the 2.9 percent expected in November. Overhauling his “forward guidance” strategy, Carney said that decisions on a rate increase would now be linked to a broader range of factors, including spare capacity in the economy, labor productivity and wage growth.
FROM NEWS SERVICES